Dear Friends in Christ,
We have now reached the Fourth Week of Advent. With December 17, our liturgical focus has shifted. In these last days before Christmas, we have turned our focus and our attention from the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time to His First Coming into the world by His incarnation and birth. This year more than most, we probably need to remind ourselves of the joy that the birth of our Savior brings to the world. 2020 has been a year of many hardships and struggles, but none of them can erase or deprive us of the joy that we have in Jesus – unless we let them.
This year due to the many issues connected to COVID-19, we will be making some adjustments to our Christmas celebration. As we are limited to only 50% capacity at each Mass (825 people), we will be having overflow Masses in the Activity Center. These Masses will be at 4:30 & 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve and 10:00 & 11:30 am on Christmas Day. As the early Christmas Eve Masses are usually very crowded, I encourage you to please consider coming on Christmas Day or the later Masses on Christmas Eve.
Everyone is asked to please abide by the health protocols:
- Wear a mask
- Keep social distance (2 empty seats between families)
- Receive Holy Communion
- Do not come to Church if you are ill
If one is concerned about being with others, has health concerns or is in one of the “at risk” categories, the Dispensation from Mass for Catholics in the archdiocese is still in effect and is encouraged NOT to come to Mass but to pray at home. Please remember that all of the surfaces in the church and Activity Center have been treated with an antimicrobial barrier, so there is no need for congregation members to wipe the pews or other surfaces with any hand gel or wipes. Regular and frequent handwashing is still recommended.
We will continue to abide by the practices as outlined by the archdiocese and we will not have Holy Water available or an offertory procession. There will be ushers with baskets available at the end of Mass, but you are encouraged and invited to make your offering On-line, or by using the Text-To-Give or mailing your financial support to the office. For details, please check our parish website. For the Sign of Peace, the faithful are asked to offer an appropriate gesture and not shake hands with non-family members.
Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. As we come to celebrate His birth, may we not forget that the Lord is truly with us even in these trying times. Fear and worry are useless for those who know and love Jesus! The gift that God gives us this Christmas is the gift that God gave the world 2000 years ago, His only begotten Son. 2020 has been a test of faith. Do we only trust God in the good times or do we place our trust in God at all times? Does our joy in the Lord resound in our hearts and in our lives only when everything is perfect or do we “rejoice in the Lord always!”? Christmas 2020 is our moment to behold the wonders and marvels of God and to praise Him for His everlasting love for us.
In pace Christi,